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Why is the Euro so high vs. the US Dollar?

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OK - I'm sure this question has been asked before. But I really don't understand how the Euro could be worth so much more than the US dollar. Europe's not in such great economic shape either.

Also - Just came back from Italy and my bank charged us $1.50 US to 1 Euro for each ATM withdrawal. This is without the bank fees, and even when we saw that the exchange rate was 1.46. Anyone know why it was so high? (HSBC is our bank.)

All you economic whizzes - enlighten me.

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